The Earth’s magnetic field is usually our friend, as it protects us from solar winds and ultraviolet radiation that could ruin our health and even kill us. But just like any friend, this magnetic field can also act against us if we’re not careful enough.
NASA raises the alarm that a dent in Earth’s magnetic field can jeopardize the functionality of satellites and the space station. Located above the southern Atlantic Ocean and even growing in size, there’s no telling for sure what the final outcome will be.
It started to grow since 2014
The unwanted quantities of charged solar particles that pass through can cause malfunctions for computers and circuitry. This means that the South Atlantic Anomaly, as it’s named, can affect the International Space Station and satellites that get too close to the region. However, one good news is that for us who like to keep our feet on the ground, there’s no reason to worry. The Earth’s magnetic field can still do its job pretty well if we’re not too high above the atmosphere.
Terence Sabaka, a geophysicist at NASA, declared:
“Those particles can wreak havoc on satellite instrumentation, so it’s good to track the South Atlantic Anomaly, and especially its changing shape, so that we can take preventative actions,”
Weijia Kuang, who’s a geophysicist and mathematician from NASA Goddard’s Geodesy and Geophysics Laborator, stated:
“Satellite measurements, as well as theoretical modeling, predict that the area will be larger in the next five years or longer, and the strength of the magnetic field in that area will be even lower,”
Ironically enough, the trouble can come from two sources once it’s unleashed: the magnetic field and the Sun. Both structures are supposed to protect us, but they can surely show their inner wrath from time to time.